"Alignment is the position something needs to be in, in order to work correctly. Natural body alignment would be required for your body to work correctly as a body." - Katy Bowman, Alignment Matters
We've all been told (probably a lot) that we should improve our posture. Don't slouch, stand up straight, head up, shoulders back, tummy in, are all things you've undoubtedly heard in reference to posture. And doesn't it seem that posture is something we're never in? It's like something we have to put on to make our grandma happy, even though it's not comfortable and we don't like it.
Well here's the good news - alignment and posture are not the same thing. As the opening quote states, alignment is the position parts need to be in to work well. Posture is an assumed position that is dictated by social, cultural, and learned models (military, dance, athletics, or disciplines such as martial arts). While these postures may be visually appealing or conducive to performing a particular task, they are not necessarily optimal for bodily function and whole body health.
Alignment, to put it simply, allows for complete movement while minimizing friction and torque in the joints, maximizes our relationship to gravity for stronger bones, and optimizes muscle length to maximize nerve function, blood flow, and waste removal down to the cellular level. Our nervous system, cardiovascular system, and immune system are optimized as a result, and how can that be a bad idea?
Here are just a few of the benefits of natural alignment:
Preserves and protects the spine
Minimizes joint damage
Helps us find and use more (and different) muscles
Lowers blood pressure
Increases oxygenation of tissue
Improves cellular regeneration
Why do we need to learn about natural alignment if it's natural? Good question! While natural human alignment is hardwired and pre-installed, a lifetime of habits, learned behavior, activities (or inactivity) and environment have overridden your natural alignment in many ways. These less optimal patterns can create pain, dysfunction, injury, and disease. The good news is that we can remember and regain our natural patterns with a little information, awareness, and practice!
So when you come to visit us at Kensho, we will talk (a lot) about how to notice, explore, and improve our natural alignment. But if you're itching for some homework right now, try this:
Relax your belly. Wait, what? That's right. Despite popular opinion that sucking in and clenching your guts is 'using your core', it's really just tension that's putting a stranglehold on your organs, inhibiting your breathing and stressing you out. Seriously. Let. It. Go. Now that's not to say that core strength isn't important or that you don't have to use your center muscles. But here's the thing - if the muscles are clenched and tense all the time then they don't actually get to do the work they were designed for.
So how do we get them to work? Well, first, by releasing the tension. And then by aligning the body so that the center muscles are optimized to balance the upper and lower body.
And how do we do that? Well, come and visit! We'll lead you through it!